SYMPOSIA PAPER Published: 01 January 1996

A New Approach to Evaluating Pre-analysis Holding Times for the Determination of Volatile Organic Compounds in Soil


In the absence of volatilization losses, the short-term concentration stabilities of benzene, toluene, trans-1,2-dichloroethylene, and trichloroethylene were assessed in soil subsamples. Previous holding time studies for this matrix failed to eliminate volatilization as a variable, making them difficult to interpret. Here, vapor-fortified soil subsamples held in sealed glass ampoules for 14 days at 22°C experienced appreciable reductions in benzene and toluene concentrations, presumably attributable to biodegradation. When the same fortified soil was held as a subsample for either headspace or purge-and-trap analyses, it showed an appreciable reduction in toluene and a complete loss of benzene over a 14-day holding period at 4°C. In contrast, fortified soils held in sealed glass ampoules at 4°C, or dispersed in methanol and held at 22°C, showed no significant analyte losses over periods of 20 and 98 days, respectively.

Author Information

Hewitt, AD
U.S. Army Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory, Hanover, NH
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Developed by Committee: E47
Pages: 181–191
DOI: 10.1520/STP15470S
ISBN-EB: 978-0-8031-5323-3
ISBN-13: 978-0-8031-2048-8